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Map of Yangtze RiverYangtze River

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Cool Depths

  Stars and Moon on the Yangtze
  After sudden rain, a clear autumn night.
  On golden waves the sparkle of the Jewelled Cord.
  The River of Heaven white from eternity,
  The Yangtze's shallows limpid since just now.
  Reflections, pearls from a snapped string:
  High in the shy one mirror rises.
  Afterlight which jades as the clock drips,
  still fainter as the dewdrops settle on the Powers.
                                              Du Fu (712--770) transited by A C Graham
Yangtze River
                                    
  Sadness of the Gorges
  Above the gorges, one thread of sky:
  Cascades in the gorges twine a thousand cords.
  High up, the slant of splintered sunlight, moonlight:
  Beneath, curbs to the wild heave of the waves.
  The shock of a gleam, and then another,
  In depths of shadow froze for conturies:
  The rays between the gorges do not halt at noon,
  Where the straits are perilous, more hurry spittle.
  Trees loch their roots in rotted coffins
  And the twisted skeletons hang tilted upright:
  Branches weep as the frost perches
  Mournful cadences, remote and clear.
  A spurned exile's shrivelled guts
  scald and seethe ln the water and fire he walks through.
  A lifetime's like a jine-spun thread,
  The road goes up by the rope at the edge.
  When he pours his libation of tears to the ghosts in the stream
  The ghosts gather, a shimmer on the waves.
                                    MengJiao (751-814),translated by A C Graham

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